Published Aug 28, 2008Giving an inadvertent kick in the nuts to the already reeling Greyhound industry is Traitor, a film about Muslim terrorists who decide to simultaneously blow up multiple busses across North America on American Thanksgiving. Its a competent and relatively engaging political thriller despite being somewhat plodding, extremely predictable and featuring a performance from Don Cheadle thats devoid of any sense of humour.
Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce), an FBI agent with a faith studies pedigree, heads up an investigation with partner Max Archer (Neal McDonough) to unveil a dangerous terrorist conspiracy. The plot seemingly involves a former U.S Special Operations officer by the name of Samir Horn (Don Cheadle), who has been linked to a prison break in Yemen, an embassy bombing in Nice and noted terrorist baddie Nathir (Raad Rawi).
Implications that terrorist leaders hang out at Lebanese restaurants in Toronto and use various Canadian ports, including Halifax and Port Hope, to move explosives and travel freely do little to help an already distorted political landscape. Thankfully, the lacklustre nature of the film and minimal commercial prospects will leave few further contemplating this train of thought.
Character development and intentionally contradictory reactions add tension and depth to cinematically ubiquitous scenarios, which certainly ameliorates the fairly prosaic story, but is unable to give the film the significance and impact it clearly strives for. Even the action sequences feel liberally borrowed from other FBI investigation thrillers.
This is only exacerbated by how stoic and unidentifiable Cheadle makes his "man of profound faith character out to be. Of even less consequence is Guy Pearce, who does a great job as an actor but is given contrived motivations to pursue terrorists outside of sheer job requirement that feel tagged on and forced.
Attention to details of the Muslim faith in relation to character progression and motivation give the film an edge over others of the genre but familiar plot twists and structural laziness keep it from being anything other than mediocre. (Alliance)